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4 Tips for Cold Weather Pain

Hi Everyone!

I’m excited to announce the launch of our new website We’ve re-designed it with new images and it’s easier to navigate. To celebrate, I’m offering 20% everything in my online store now through Saturday Feb 9, 2019. In addition to your herbs and supplements, my store has medicinal foods and beauty supplies, like organic chocolate, lotion, and pet supplements. The supplements are pharmaceutical grade and all products are high quality and naturally derived, even the cosmetics!

I hope everyone is staying warm this wonderful winter. Here in Placer County, we are having a big storm. We might even get snow in Auburn, California tomorrow!

Every winter, I hear patients mention pain that is worse in cold, damp weather. You probably heard someone say “must be a big storm. My joints hurt!” Feel free to share this email with them. Cold weather pain is common and here are 4 tips to warm you up:

1. Cold causes muscles to contract, blood flow to decrease, and joints to stiffen. Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or heated rice bag to warm the painful body part. By applying heat directly to your troublesome area, you can help relieve the pain and loosen it up. Also, warm up your core. By heating your core, like the small of your back or your abdomen right below your navel, you improve circulation to the entire body.

2. Add some warming herbs to your meals. Ginger, garlic, mustard, cayenne, pepper, and cinnamon are delicious and warming. If you have a lot of heat in your stomach, these spicy foods might not be for you (try cooling foods like cucumber, tofu, coconut). If your belly likes spice, fire cider is a power warming tonic. You can take a 1oz shot everyday during cold/flu season to boost your immune system. The fermented apple cider vinegar has probiotics which are great for boosting immunity. The other ingredients have potent anti-viral, antibiotic properties and warming abilities. It’s also a super yummy condiment. Sometimes it's found in the grocery store but it’s amazing homemade. Other than waiting 6 weeks for it to ferment, it’s pretty easy to make.

Fire Cider Recipe

16 oz Apple Cider Vinegar FERMENTED (like Braggs)

Handful of each, chopped: ginger, turmeric, garlic, onion

1 chopped jalapeño - no seeds

1 lemon, quartered

Combine all ingredients into large jar or pitcher and cover. Let sit for 6 weeks to further ferment. Then strain solids from the liquid. Store liquid in fridge. You can toss the solids but I like to blend them into soup or a salad dressing. Enjoy!

3. Even if you are just running out to your car or into the store, dress warmly. You’ll thank yourself for protecting yourself from the cold and the wind. Cover your head, neck, ears, and wear a jacket that is long enough to cover your lower back and butt. I highly recommend pocket hand warmers. In addition to hands and feet, I recommend pocket warmers for your core. If you tuck in your t-shirt or underlay tightly, you can drop one in the front for your belly, and one in back for your low back. Move them around to prevent overheating.

4. There is an entire category of herbs that are warming. They work great for pain that gets worse with cold. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mobility 3 by Health Concerns

This strong blend of Chinese herbs treats physical pain due to wind, cold, or dampness. Common symptoms include headache, numbness, pain, malaise, fatigue, and the like. It’s also effective for treating arthritis and muscle pain that worsens in cold, damp weather.

Topical Magnesium by NOW

Because the cold causes muscles to contract, magnesium helps muscles to relax. You can draw warm Epson salt baths, take oral magnesium, or apply topical magnesium. I really like internal magnesium for patients who are constipated because your digestive tract is lined by smooth muscles and magnesium helps to stimulate bowel movements. I recommend topical magnesium for people who have loose stools and don’t do well on oral magnesium. Another perk is it reduces stress, anxiety, and insomnia in those with magnesium deficiency.

Boswellia Tumeric by Douglas Laboratories

Boswellia (frankincense) and turmeric both have powerful warming and anti-inflammatory effects. I’ve heard a lot of patients say “turmeric helped so much” or “turmeric did nothing.” This is probably due to the nature of your inflammation or pain. There is pain that feels BETTER with cold, not worse. That pain wouldn’t respond well to turmeric or boswellia. Pain that is cold in nature and feels better with heat responds really well to turmeric and boswellia. Another powerful enzyme that warms and eats up inflammation is bromelain, the active ingredient in pineapple. If you respond well to turmeric and boswellia, you’ll probably like bromelain too.

AC-Q Tabs by Health Concerns

Another blend of Chinese herbs is AC-Q Tabs. It treats joint and muscle pain accompanied by weakness of the legs, hips, and back, especially post-stroke. It helps degenerative diseases which reduce mobility and strength, including arthritis. Sometimes, I’ll prescribe it to resolve traumatic and sports injuries and it’s a favorite to treat fibromyalgia.

You can find all those helpful products on my online store and enjoy 20% until Saturday, February 9, 2019!

If you are always cold to your core, struggle with pain that’s worse in the cold, or seem to catch every cold or flu that’s going around, contact me for an appointment and I will guide you towards your healthy self with a treatment of acupuncture and herbs!

Stay warm and enjoy the winter weather!

I’ll see you in my office soon for your next acupuncture appointment!

Dr. Heather Bird


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